MARSHALL ISLANDS WANTS SAME U.S. $ DEAL AS FSM

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (March 15, 2002 – Marshall Islands Journal)---The Marshall Islands completed its Compact of Free Association funding pitch to the United States government this week, submitting its final two funding proposals for consideration.

The Marshall Islands is asking the U.S. for a total funding package of $68 million a year.

A key negotiating position for the RMI is "we want pr capita grant assistance that is on a par with the Federated States of Micronesia," said RMI Compact Negotiation executive director Bobby Muller.

RMI figures show that the FSM received 25-30 percent more Compact grant funding on a per capita basis, from 2000-2003.

If Marshall Islands nuclear compensation and Kwajalein rental payments are included, then the RMI is about equal to the FSM.

But Muller said rental and compensation shouldn’t be included as part of Compact grant funding. "We want fair and equitable Compact funding treatment," Muller said.

"This is why we believe that the funding for the special needs of Ebeye and the special health care programs are more than justified to be under grant assistance in the new term of the Compact.

The two primary objectives of the RMI government with its proposal are:

The RMI is specifically requesting $68 million in annual funding in the following areas:

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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